182 million US Internet users watched online video content in December 2011 for an average of 23.2 hours per viewer. The total US Internet audience viewed 43.5 billion videos last month.
While Facebook dominates in the online photo space, the company dropped to fifth place in US online video properties, ranked by unique video viewers, according to comScore. The social network saw 42.0 million unique viewers experience 238.7 videos for an average of 23.9 minutes per viewer.
Google sites, driven primarily by YouTube, ranked as the top online video content property with 157.2 million unique viewers. Vevo captured second place with 53.7 million viewers, Yahoo was third with 53.3 million, and Viacom Digital was fourth with 45.8 million. Still, Facebook is ahead of at least two other Internet giants: Microsoft and AOL.
In January 2011, Facebook was in sixth place and in July 2011, the social network grabbed bronze. The social network has been jumping all over the place: it was even in second place back in August 2010.
The race for second place currently is a very close one: only Google has had nothing to worry about since it is so far ahead in first place. Even if Facebook manages to grab silver, and keep it, it still has to figure out how to aim for gold.
One could argue that Facebook doesn't need to unseat YouTube, and I would be inclined to agree. On the other hand, it sure wouldn't hurt to close the gap. After all, Google is making sure to leverage YouTube in its social network. Users can watch YouTube videos together in Google+ Hangouts, and the search giant is making a point to regularly advertise the feature on YouTube. Facebook doesn't need to kill YouTube, but it needs to more fiercely compete with it.
Menlo Park knows it can do better in online video. How will it do that? Facebook will take on video like it does everything else: making the experience more social. Beyond opening up its platform to various movie studios (see links below), the company is going to push video apps like it does for music and news. For example, take a look at what will likely be announced tomorrow.
- Miramax starts offering movies on Facebook
- Universal starts offering movies to rent on Facebook
- Facebook wants to make TV more social
- Facebook adds Netflix CEO to board of directors
- Warner Bros. starts offering movies on Facebook
- Warner Bros. offers five more movies on Facebook
- Sony considering movie distribution on Facebook